Boston College grad transfer Jon Hilliman is coming home. The running back and former St. Peter’s Prep star is transferring to Rutgers to play his final season of eligibility. He announced he was joining the program via twitter on Wednesday night.
To end all the speculation, Yes, I️ have decided to do my final year of college football in my backyard! So grateful for this unbelievable opportunity to play at RUTGERS UNIVERSITY!! #WelcomeHomeRoscoeJenkins #MakeNJGreatAgain pic.twitter.com/190Rf1N3Cd— Jonathan Ⓜ️ Hilliman (@thrilliman) January 10, 2018
The Plainfield, New Jersey native has reportedly graduated from Boston College and has been back home in the garden state reviewing his options for next season. This past fall, Hilliman ran for 638 yards on 167 attempts for a 3.8 yards per carry and had 5 rushing touchdowns. He also had a career best 24 receptions for 155 yards and 2 receiving touchdowns in 2017. However, Hilliman was the secondary back behind freshman A.J. Dillon, who rushed for 1,589 yards and 14 touchdowns this past season. Hilliman ultimately decided to leave Boston College for another opportunity and chose to stay close to home this time.
In fact, Hilliman was a one time commit to Rutgers when Kyle Flood was head coach. He told Todderick Hunt of NJ Advance Media in 2013 here that the instability with the coaching staff and the mass exodus of commits in that cycle’s recruiting class played a big part in his decision. Hilliman was a former 3-star recruit who starred at St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City, where he broke the school record with 31 touchdowns his senior season. He was named First Team All-State and had close to 30 scholarship offers, including Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Michigan.
The 6’0”, 220 pound back rushed for 2,238 yards and 26 touchdowns in 42 games in his career at Boston College, averaging 3.7 yards per carry. He has rushed for 100+ yards in a game seven times. His best season was in 2014 as a freshman, when Hilliman ran for 860 yards and 13 touchdowns, averaging 4.1 yards per carry. He received a medical redshirt in the 2015 season due to suffering a broken foot in the fourth game, which allowed him to gain an additional year of eligibility.
With the top two rushers from last season graduating in Gus Edwards and Robert Martin, the battle at running back for Rutgers is wide open. Hilliman instantly becomes the favorite to start next season, based on his experience and balanced skill set. Rising sophomore Raheem Blackshear offers a good compliment to Hilliman and incoming freshman Isaih Pacheco could see playing time as well. In addition, Trey Sneed, Charles Snorweah and Elijah Barnwell figure to have an opportunity to move up the depth chart and be in the mix for next season also.
Credit head coach Chris Ash with continuing to be resourceful in upgrading the roster through the grad transfer market. He has proven savvy in convincing players from New Jersey and New York, including last season’s leading rusher in Gus Edwards, to come home for their final season of eligibility. Edwards led the team with 713 yards rushing on 4.3 yards per carry, added 103 yards receiving and tallied 7 touchdowns. If Hilliman could come close to that type of production, it would be a big boost for Rutgers next season. He has a similar build to Edwards and also prefers to run between the tackles, running with a combination of speed and power, while having the ability to catch balls out of the backfield. Regardless of what the Rutgers offense looks like next season under a new coordinator, having a back of Hilliman’s skill set and experience will be a valuable asset for this team. He also has the ability to serve as a positive influence and leader for what is otherwise a very young and inexperienced running backs group for Rutgers.
Check out highlights of Hilliman’s career at Boston College: